Germany: Springer readies for expansion as digital continues to amaze

Germany remains one of Europe’s most dynamic TV markets. Broadcasters continue to discover the country’s burgeoning digital market while remaining loyal to tried-and-true formats such as telenovelas, self-help formats and hit Hollywood fare.

Publishing giant Axel Springer’s acquisition of Haim Saban’s ProSiebenSat 1 may have been blocked by German regulators, but that hasn’t dampened the company’s expansion plans.

In the wake of record profits last year, ProSiebenSat 1 is moving beyond advertising-based TV, launching a video-on-demand service as well as two pay TV channels this year.

On the terrestrial front, the group has seen huge success with in-house formats and series on Sat.1. ProSieben, which showcases Hollywood series and films, saw ratings improve last year and continues to regain ground, although U.S. series such as “Lost” and “Numbers” have performed disappointingly for the network.

Taking a page from Sat.1, which has enjoyed stratospheric success with its daily telenovela “Verliebt in Berlin” (“That’s Life”), ProSieben got into the act with its own “Lotta in Love,” which went on the air in March.

Skein has bolstered ProSieben’s current lineup, including U.S. series such as “Desperate Housewives,” “Queer as Folk,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The OC.”

RTL Television, meanwhile, has continued to enjoy solid ratings thanks to “CSI: Miami,” “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” and the latest version of the “Pop Idol” format, “Deutschland sucht den Superstar.”

Other current RTL hits include formats such as “Super Nanny” and home-improvement skein “Einsatz in 4 Waenden.” In February, web drew an impressive 11.6 million viewers with hit catastrophe pic “Storm Flood.”

Both RTL and ProSieben recently picked up packages of Warner Bros. product from Tele Munchen.

RTL bought “Batman Begins,” the last two installments of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “Troy” and “Constantine,” as well as series such as “The Closer,” “Close to Home” and “The War at Home.”

ProSiebenSat 1 nabbed the second and third installments of the “Harry Potter” franchise, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “The Island” and “Ocean’s Twelve” in addition to series “Invasion” and “Supernatural.”

ZDF has also scored well with its top series, “Der letzte Zeuge” (The Last Witness), about mystery-solving police medical examiners, and pet chimp skein “Unser Charly” (“Our Charly”). The pubcaster set new records in March with World War II drama “Dresden,” which attracted 12.7 million viewers, achieving a 32% share.

Top 3 Shows

1. “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” RTL

2.”Um Himmels Willen” ARD (pic attached)

3. “Tatort” ARD

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